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Who doesn't love the convenience of online shopping? Click a button, and boom — everything you needed shows up on your doorstep in a couple of days. That is, of course, if a porch pirate doesn't get to it first.
The unfortunate truth is that some people will take any opportunity to take advantage of others — including swiping packages off of porches. This scumbag move has become more popular, as the age of Amazon has continued to develop, leaving many homeowners wondering whether it's possible to defeat these particular types of thieves once and for all.
Pro Tip: If you're worried about preventing more serious crimes, you might want to check out our guide to burglar-proofing your home. There are some great tips in there to help you protect your property and loved ones.
While we can't guarantee you're never going to open your door after you receive the “package delivered” alert to find nothing there, these helpful tips can significantly cut down your risk of falling victim. And the last impractical but hilariously vindictive one will ensure a porch pirate won't be coming back to your place any time soon.
Most of us aren't home at all times, ready to pounce the second the UPS driver rings the doorbell. If you're often not home for hours — or even days — after the delivery window for your packages, you might consider investing in a package-receiving service. Sometimes major carriers like FedEx and UPS offer them for particular orders, or you can rent a U.S. Postal Service post office box. Keep in mind, though, a P.O. Box can only accept items delivered by U.S. mail,1 meaning UPS, FedEx, and Amazon are no-goes.
There are also localized third-party package-receiving services in major cities. Just google where you live, and see what's available for you. Sure, it's a little bit of a hassle to have to go pick your package up somewhere else. And sure, you're going to have to pay a little extra, but the peace of mind knowing it won't get snatched is worth it in our book.
There are a ton of products on the market to combat porch pirates, and delivery bags are among the most effective. These heavy-duty receptacles usually lock up to any stationary object. You leave them open for the delivery guy, who'll put your package inside, and lock it up before they leave.2 Pretty ingenious, if you ask us.
Pro Tip: If you can, talk with your postman or delivery driver before using one of these products. If you can't, or if the delivery driver is different every time, you might also consider leaving a note with instructions on how to use the bag when you're expecting a package.
Now you might be wondering how secure these bags actually are, and you'd be right to ask. A determined thief probably would be able to get into one with some sharp tools and enough time, but to criticize this solution for being easily defeated is to miss the point. Porch piracy is a crime of opportunity. All you have to do is make it a little harder for the criminal to steal your package, — for it to take a little more time and effort — and they're far more likely to pass you by.
While it's not technically going to prevent a thief from stealing a package off your porch, a solid video doorbell will certainly make all but the most brazen criminals think twice.
Today's video doorbells will take high-resolution video of anyone approaching your property, which will make for excellent evidence should that individual be up to no good. Some — like you can read about in our guide to the Nest family of products — even use AI-driven facial recognition technology. This means you can quickly identify if the person coming up the driveway is your friend popping by for a visit or a stranger looking to take what they can steal.
That said, doorbells with those kinds of high-tech features are admittedly a little pricey. If you're looking for something a little more affordable, or if you're just looking to comparison shop, we recommend taking a look at our guide to the best video doorbells of 2023. Any of the ones on that list can help send porch pirates packing.
Like we said above, package-snatching is all about moving quickly and drawing as little attention to yourself as possible. If your packages tend to sit out overnight, that's prime time for a porch pirate to stroll up, take your stuff, and get away unnoticed.
Unless you light them up like a Christmas tree, that is.3
A good motion detector/floodlight combo will stop most after-hours porch pirates in their tracks. And, as an added bonus, many of these pieces of equipment come with onboard surveillance cameras, too. Check out our review of the Ring Spotlight Cam for more information.
Alright — this last one is a little impractical but really satisfying. If you've been a victim of porch piracy in the past, and you want to get back at the perpetrator, you might consider leaving a glitter bomb out for them.
A glitter bomb is essentially a spring-loaded trap that will send glitter flying once tripped. Rigging up an old Amazon box and leaving it on your porch as bait for a porch pirate to take might not get those stolen goods back, but you'll sleep soundly knowing you were the arbiter of sweet karma. Have you ever tried to clean up a pound of glitter that's been blown around your kitchen? It's impossible, and the porch pirate will have plenty of time to think about their life choices while covered in their sparkly surprise.
OK, OK, we don’t actually condone this type of sweet revenge on porch pirates. But it is fun to imagine, right? It’s best to adhere to the aforementioned tips and tricks of prevention. When all else fails, you can submit recorded video along with your police report. In other words, don’t glitter bomb the lowlifes; instead, allow your local law enforcement to take care of the riffraff.
While porch piracy is certainly annoying, it's relatively minor in the scheme of things — especially when you consider the crazy number of home break-ins that occur every day.
To prevent these higher-stakes crimes, you really need to invest in a good security system. Lucky for you, our guide to the best alarm systems of 2023 is an excellent place to start your search.
USPS. (2023, Mar 15). PO Box™ – The Basics.
Prevent Package Theft. (2022). Top Package Bags to Buy in 2022.
How Stuff works. (2022). Do Porch Lights Really Stop Burglars?
Bankrate. (2022, Jun 6). Burglary statistics 2022.